893.74/611: Telegram

The Minister in China (MacMurray) to the Secretary of State

399. 1. Your telegram number 249, September 12, 5 p.m. appears to require immediate and categorical answer; greatly regret to report that if I were compelled to give a final answer at this moment it would have to be unfavorable.

2. Since early in August, I have been endeavoring, as my reports have indicated, to get serious consideration of this matter by the Chinese Government presenting clear issue whether or not the present administration is prepared to abide by its contractual obligations to American citizens and to cooperate loyally with the American Government in maintaining the principle of open door. My first conversations were with the Minister for Foreign Affairs who apparently does not understand what is involved and has consistently sought to put me off with meaningless assurances amounting to what is termed in your telegram “a promise of possibility of further negotiations.” On August 24th I saw the Chief Executive who assured me that the contract was recognized as valid and would be put into effect but in view of “obstacles” to which he referred would make no commitment as to when that would be done. In notes addressed to the Foreign Office August 26th and 29th under your instructions I urged the importance of this Government’s informing me definitely whether it would give effect to the contract and if so when. In a supplementary note September 7th I pointed out that my Government regards these questions as urgent; and on September 11th I again emphasized urgency of a decision. I have thus far received no reply to my notes and no indication whatsoever from any responsible source as to what attitude this administration may be prepared to take regarding its obligations towards our citizens and towards our Government and its policies.

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3. In the hope that the administration may even yet be made conscious of its responsibilities and of its interest in this matter, I shall nevertheless continue my efforts and trust that you may be able allow some few days longer before accepting as definitive and conclusive the failure of the Chinese Government to deal with this matter in good faith.

4. Copy by mail to Tokio.